Authors: Mona Risk
Mother’s Day Babies
Babies Series, Book 3
1 Christmas Babies)
2 Valentine Babies)
“Risk’s writing is easy to read
and engages the reader right away.” ~Sally Pink Reviews
the reader entertained with the twists and turns in the plot.” ~Got Romance!
“The writing sweeps you into the
story and keeps you turning the pages.” ~The Long & The Short Reviews
you for Reading
Books by Mona Risk
Mother’s Day Babies
2013 - Mona Risk
Edition, License Notes
All rights reserved. No part of
this publication may be used, reproduced, or transmitted, in any form, or by
any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise)
without the written permission of both the copyright owner and the above
publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the
author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Scott-Taylor for her invaluable input.
“I can’t go to Paris with that
gorgeous man.” Barbara Ramsey scowled at the full length mirror in her bedroom,
turned around, and glanced over her shoulder at her reflection. “This dress
looks even worse from the back.”
“Nonsense, Mom, I hope I look
that great at your age.” Standing in the master bedroom beside a gaping
suitcase, Heather rolled her eyes. “After raising five daughters, one would
expect a little extra flesh here and there. No big deal. A nice outfit will
camouflage the bulges. Madelyn, hand me that black thing.”
Her lips pinched, her eldest held
out the long silk dress. “Too old-fashioned. Mom, you need a new evening gown.”
Madelyn extracted two velvet sweat suits from the closet and shook her head.
“Definitely not good for Paris. We need to go shopping.”
“Why would anyone expect me to
play the dating game at fifty-five with forty extra pounds on my hips?” Barbara
pinched her side. Yep, definitely more than two inches there. Not that she
usually cared about her weight, but under the circumstances...
Instead of commiserating, the two
young women burst out laughing. If Roxanne, Claire and Tiffany were here too,
the five of them would have a swell time ganging up on her with comments and
“Mom, you’re beautiful.” Heather
grabbed her mother’s shoulders and spun her back toward the mirror. “Look at your
pretty face. You have almost no lines. How many people had told you that you
look like our big sister?”
“You’re too kind, sweetheart.” Barbara
patted Heather’s cheek. Her daughter lived on a farm, stayed home to raise her
four little boys, and didn’t have a mean bone in her petite frame. “So what if
I have good genes. I still can’t go to Paris with your sister’s boss.”
“Mom, let’s put things in the
right perspective. You’re not going to Paris as Lou Roland’s date. Roxanne and
her family will be there too.” Madelyn threw aside the outfits she’d been
holding and rubbed her mother’s back.
“You’re just accompanying Roxy on
a business trip to France for two weeks,” Heather added. “How often have you mentioned
you wished she could take you on one of her work assignments? I think it was
very kind of Mr. Roland to invite you to go along with the KNR TV crew to
France and to reserve a room for you at the prestigious George V hotel. Why do
you assume he has an ulterior motive?”
“I don’t assume anything. I just
don’t know him very well. It’s been two months since we met at Roxy’s friends’
wedding and I haven’t seen him since.”
Madelyn planted her fists on her
hips. “Lou calls you several times a week. You told me you chat and laugh for
hours. You even called him your best buddy.”
Heather chuckled, her blond
ponytail bouncing on her back, and tapped her sister on the shoulder. “I bet
you’re not aware that she even sent him a box of her famous cookies.”
“No way!” Madelyn’s censorious
look annoyed the heck out of her mother. “Well, well, if your friendship with
Lou has reached
level, I don’t see the problem. It’s about time you
started living again.”
“My life is busy and perfect as
As perfect and smooth as the satin bedspread
. Her mouth twitched
and she automatically reached to readjust the golden cover’s corners.
She had a beautiful house, the
same one where she’d lived with her late husband David for thirty years, and
she still attended the same church where they were married. What more could she
“Come on, Mom.” Heather threw her
hands in the air. “All you do is spend your days in the kitchen, cooking or
baking for your grandchildren and church events.”
“And probably tasting your
delicious food,” Madelyn added. “No wonder you’re putting on weight. It’s time
to do something different and discover what the world looks like outside of
“I regularly travel to Florida
“Mom, visiting with my family and
baking for the kids is not what I’d call a real vacation.” Madelyn shook her
practical crop of blond curls.
Panic struck Barbara’s chest.
David, why have you left me?
She unzipped the dress and pulled on her
normal clothes as her daughters jabbered on with more advice. With a shooing
motion to push them out of her bedroom, she switched off the light and hurried
down the stairs to her kitchen and safe haven.
“Leave me in peace, you two. I’m
a mother and a grandmother. Not a glamorous thirty-something bimbo like the women
your sister’s boss usually dates.”
A Midwestern girl at heart, she’d
often gathered her late husband’s partners and their friendly wives for cozy
dinners. But that was nothing in comparison to Lou Roland’s Television Network
international affairs. Lou had specified they’d attend several receptions in
Paris. She’d tried to imagine herself conversing with his VIP acquaintances.
And failed big time.
A cold sweat broke on her
forehead. To think her daughter, Roxanne, navigated that stressful environment
like a fish in the water.
“Mom, you’re not going alone with
Lou Roland. You’ll have Roxanne and Greg, and their little girls with you.
Definitely more chaperones than any man needs to keep him in line, if that’s
what worries you,” Madelyn added with a chuckle.
“How could I betray David?”
Barbara blinked back a surge of tears. Guilt speared her every time Lou paid
her a compliment. Although, to be honest, part of her reveled in his admiration.
“Your poor Dad.”
“For heaven’s sake, Mom, be
realistic.” Madelyn shook her head. “We all loved Dad, but he’s been gone for seven
“We’re here to help you get
ready. Physically and mentally.” Heather wrapped an arm around her mother’s
shoulders and kissed her cheek. “Is that hazelnut coffee I smell?” She sniffed
around with an ecstatic flourish. “Ah, I love its aroma. Let’s have a good cup
of coffee and a cookie. You’ll be able to think more clearly.”
If Barbara wasn’t so frazzled, she
would have chuckled at Heather’s use of her universal remedy for stress.
In the kitchen, Madelyn poured
the coffee and handed her a cup of black.
“Honey, you forgot to add two
sugars and cream for me.” Barbara held back her cup.
Madelyn arched a chastising
eyebrow. “No sugar and cream, and no cookies for you, Mom. From now on, you
watch your calories. Not because of Lou and his Paris trip, but because your
blood pressure and cholesterol were too high when I checked them three weeks
ago. I’m putting you on a diet. And strict exercise.” How like her eldest
daughter to be the cool and rational doctor, even with her mother.
“And in three weeks you’ll be
slim, relaxed, and ready to have a great time in Paris.” Her sweet Heather
couldn’t stand to see her mom anxious.
Her number one and number three
daughters were like night and day, one always too strict and the other too
easygoing. Yet they never gave her half of the problems, their number two
sister, Roxanne, excelled at throwing in her mother’s path.
“Don’t fool yourself, girls.”
Barbara shrugged, determined to regain the upper hand. Thirty years of married
life with a lawyer had taught her to analyze people’s motives and behavior. “I
think Lou just wants a reliable babysitter for Roxanne’s twins. Your sister is
his best reporter, but she refuses to travel overseas without her family. Her
husband would be stuck in the hotel with his two toddlers. No fun for him. To keep
Greg and Roxanne happy, the wily boss invited me to go along. Voila.”
“Mom, you’re not serious,”
Madelyn protested. “The man couldn’t take his eyes off you during Steve and
“Lou definitely likes you the way
you are,” Heather added with a knowing smile. “Or he wouldn’t have invited you
“I don’t understand.” Madelyn
crossed her arms and peered at Barbara as if she was lying on an examination
table. “Are you upset because you wonder if Lou wants you in Paris to babysit
Roxy’s kids? Or because you fear he wants to flirt with you?”
All of the above and much more
God, she was so confused with all these mixed feelings and didn’t know what to
The telephone ring saved her from
an embarrassing discussion.
Madelyn picked up the phone. “Hi
sis, you couldn’t choose a better time to call. We were talking about your upcoming
trip to Paris. Mom, it’s Roxy.”
“Put her on loud speaker,” Barbara
“Hi Mom, I’m in Atlanta at KNR
headquarters. I had a meeting with my boss to finalize the details for my
interviews in Paris. Imagine he asked me if I could have our friends, Elias and
Marie Diab take care of my twins while we’re in France.”
“That’s wonderful, honey.”
“He’s organizing a memorable
visit of Paris. Specially for you.”
All Barbara’s uncertainties
rushed back. She wasn’t ready for this—a vacation with a man she hardly knew.
Even though she liked Lou. “Oh God, Roxy, I was telling your sisters I can’t
“Why? Are you sick?” Her
daughter’s tone cooled by ten degrees.
“No. I just don’t think I can
“Mom is having cold feet,”
“She’s panicking because she’s
put on a few extra pounds,” Madelyn explained. “And because she’s not thirty or
forty anymore; because she thinks she’s betraying Dad’s memory, and because she
thought your boss wants her in Paris to babysit while you’re busy with your
interviews. Did I cover everything, Mom?”
If Madelyn were a little girl
Barbara would have grounded her to teach her not to be so fresh with her
“Mom, you can’t do that to me,”
Roxy snapped. “Not after being so enthusiastic about visiting Paris when Lou
mentioned my next assignment. Remember, Lou is my boss.”
“So? What has your job got to do
with my going to France or not?” Marriage had not repressed Roxanne’s impulse
to run around the world. Only now she dragged her whole family with her.
“Lou is going out of his way to make
it a comfortable and fun trip for you.”
Barbara’s pulse raced. “Why?”
“Uh... he’ll explain it himself.
He just walked into my office and wants to talk to you. Get off the loud
“Oh dear.” Barbara rubbed her neck
to loosen the lump stuck there. She usually enjoyed chatting with Lou, but not
with her inquisitive daughters looking on.
Madelyn immediately complied with
a sideways smile and handed her mother the phone. A hand on her mouth, Barbara cleared
her throat and steadied her nerves.
“Barbara.” Lou’s charismatic
voice never failed to sprout goose bumps on her arms, even if he’d only uttered
His image popped into her mind.
The way she’d seen him at the wedding where they met. Tall and handsome in his
navy blue suit, with silvery hair at his temples and a darker strand falling on
his forehead and shadowing piercing gray eyes.
Stifling a sigh, she smiled as if
Lou could see her. “How are you doing, Lou?”